Friday, July 04, 2008

July 4

It is Independence Day in this country -- a land I have inhabited for 11 years but still do not think of as my own. I left Australia without saying good-bye to anyone, not children, not parents, not siblings, not friends. I came here with only a computer and a few changes of clothes, leaving behind bewildered and hurting loved ones, who still after all this time do not really understand why I left, though they mostly have forgiven me.

It was the toughest thing I have ever done, but it was absolutely essential for my survival. This morning I read these words of Mary Oliver's, and gasped, tears springing to my eyes. She understands.

The Journey, by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –-
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Happy Independence Day, wherever you may be.

5 comments:

Sharon said...

And a happy 4th to you, too, Hashi. Thanks for posting this lovely poem. Just what I need this week.
(And also for the polenta lasagna recipe, which I will try also.)

nettie said...

You know you'll always be my favourite sister ;)

Anonymous said...

You constantly amaze me. I guess independence, no matter what form, always has a cost. I love you with all my heart.

rhea said...

I thought I knew before this poem, now I know I was right all along. I love you mum

Alison said...

Yes a lovely poem.